Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Ezra

I finished reading Ezra in 4 days.  It was a really interesting book that I was drawn into.  It is one I took a lot of additional notes and thoughts and wrote them down for.  I will capture that separately.

Here are my notes from Ezra:
  • In Cyrus's first year as king of Persia he declares they may go back to Jerusalem and build the temple if they choose to
  • Cyrus sends the items with them that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple
  • 42,360 people returned to their own towns and settled with their servants and singers, horses, mules, camels and donkeys
  • Items were given for the temple rebuilding
  • The alter was rebuilt and used for daily sacrifices and festivals as written in the teachings
  • Temple rebuilding began; the foundation is laid
  • Some rejoices, some, who saw the first temple, cried
  • Enemies of rebuilding - offered help, Judah refused
  • Trouble continued until the King of Persia was Darius
  • Artaxerxes stopped the building for fear of no tax money and harm to the government as written in enemies letter - records were looked up and showed a disobedient Judah
  • Prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesized and Zerubbabel started working on the temple again
  • A governor sent a letter to Darius, king of Persia, briefly explaining the scenario
  • Darius finds record of building orders and secures that work is to be done and paid for by the area's taxes and King's treasury
  • Darius orders that changes to that order be punished with death and household ruin
  • Passover is celebrated
  • Ezra, from the line of Aaron, was a teacher who well knew the Teachings of Moses
  • Ezra came from Babylon to Jerusalem
  • More people returned to Jerusalem with Ezra
  • Ezra is 'successful' because the Lord our God is helping him
  • Artaxerxes letter to Ezra provides what is needed to please the God of Israel with the temple
  • Persia wants God of Israel well pleased
  • Those who returned with Ezra delivered gold, silver and objects for the temple to the priests and Levites
  • The captives that returned had sinned as he was told by leaders
  • Ezra prays - he acknowledges the great sin and guilt; he acknowledges the kindness and hope they are currently experience; he acknowledges we are not worthy!
  • Israel was not to marry those of the land that were evil, but they did anyway
  • Ezra's prayer was emotional, confessional and in front of the temple - other people joined him
  • Ezra didn't eat or drink in his sadness as he led others to obey following his prayer
  • Returned captives were to meet together or forfeit their property and community
  • Once gathered in the rain, Ezra told them to confess and separate themselves from those around them that were non-Jews and their non-Jewish wives
  • They proposed to meet with their leaders for decision in each town at a planned time because of the time and weather needed to do this - so they did
  • Men who married non-Jews agreed to divorce them - some had children with those women
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